Reliving Harare derbies

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ONE of the country’s biggest soccer rivalries of all time is between two warring clubs, Dynamos and CAPS United. 

For generations, Harare has been the epicentre of the Harare derby that draws interest from millions of soccer-lovers locally and abroad.

The Harare derby has the same magnitude like that of the Soweto derby in South Africa between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, the Cairo derby between Zamalek and Al Ahly, the Dar es Salam derby of Simba and Young Africa, to mention but a few.

Several generations of footballers have played in the fancied Harare derby, a high stakes match. 

Each generation has had its story to tell. 

From the days of George Shaya, Joel Shambo, David Mandigora, Brenna Msiska, Shacky Tauro, Moses Chunga, Friday Phiri, Joe Mugabe, Tauya Murehwa, Alois Bunjira, Stewart Murisa, Murape Murape and Desmond Maringwa, to mention but a few, have been part of soccer players across generations who have played in the Harare derby and know its importance.

It was not just a match.

The Harare derby attracts attention from all corners of the country who travel to the capital to witness action live. 

Rufaro Stadium, the ceremonial home of football, has witnessed more action of the Harare derby than any other stadium in the city. It has been a favourite hunting ground for DeMbare and very convenient to all supporters from all corners of the city.

Dynamos were formed in 1963 while CAPS United were established 10 years later. 

The latter was a team owned by a pharmaceuticals company CAPS.

The meetings between the two have always been enthralling for the soccer-lovers, keeping them on the edge of their seats throughout the entire match. 

It was not just action on the pitch that entertained fans of the two sides.

Off the pitch, in beerhalls and other public places, it would be the discussions of their coaches’ abilities and the probable line-ups for the Harare derby. 

Tempers would flare up during the discussions which could involve scuffles in some instances.

Post-match violence has been witnessed in the past years,  especially when Dynamos got a rude awakening from CAPS United whom they had always belittled. 

Dynamos have the bragging rights of the Harare derby since the first match was played.

Approximately, the two sides have met more than 70 times with Dynamos enjoying more victories.

All yesteryear fans always argue today’s derby is a toned down version of what they used to see.

They argue, tension was high on and off the pitch.

CAPS United’s Shacky ‘Mr Goals’ Tauro had to engage in a fist fight during a match with Dynamos centre back Misheck Marimo. The opponents’ defenders had to use dirty tricks to stop ‘Mr Goals’ from scoring. 

As a result, Tauro would not stomach the treatment he received from Marimo and they fought.

Dynamos have always viewed CAPS United as their ‘subjects’. DeMbare supporters would brag, that even when their club is at its lowest ebb, they would not lose to CAPS United. 

The balance of power in the Harare derby favours the blue and white army who have more than 20 league titles.

However, CAPS United, or Makepekepe, have been nicknamed ‘Cup Kings’ after grabbing silverware in a series of cup games.

Todays’ Harare derby has lost its glamour.

It is a match in which the two teams do not accept defeat easily. Very few seasons have witnessed either side collecting all the six points from each other.

High-scoring draws have been the most thrilling for the fans. 

The most recent was the 2016 CAPS United vs DeMbare match at the giant National Sports Stadium. 

The visitors, Dynamos, dominated the game, securing a 3-0 lead at halftime.

After the breather, Lloyd Chitembwe’s men came back fired up and managed to equalise to share the spoils. 

It was a memorable comeback as one of the former Dynamos sons, Roderick Mutuma, was in the CAPS United team and he scored.

From yesteryear, very few players have played for both clubs. Crossing the great divide between the two teams has been associated with disloyalty. 

Players like Denver Mukamba – who scored a solitary goal in a Harare derby for CAPS United to win – Dominic Mukandi, Evans Gwekwerere, Simba Nhivi, Mutuma, Dominic Chungwa and Tonderayi Mateyaunga, among others, have donned the Dynamos and CAPS United jerseys interchangeably.

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